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It’s time for a drug revolution

Who controls drugs? Who controls whether you take drugs, what you take, and what the consequences are? The answers are of course, pretty complex. Governments play a part as do drug producers and suppliers; your peers, your environment, all play a role, as does mention blind chance. But what I want to talk about today is you and your power. You are often written out of the picture when the media talk about drugs sweeping the nation, or taking lives, as if the people in the equation are just passive victims of monstrous molecules.   We think you can affect not ...

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The unexpected truth about drugs

Our job at DrugScience is bringing you the scientific truth about drugs. But the scientific truth isn’t a completed body of knowledge like a bible. When scientists talk about ‘facts’ or ‘truths’ they mean the consensus supported by the evidence. Some of these facts are pretty rock solid; we’re not going to find out next week that the melting point of heroin has changed;- , whereas some of our theories will continue to change and evolve as the evidence is collected and reviewed. This uncertainty and incompleteness is a strength of the scientific method,  not a weakness, in comparison ...

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“Ravaged by drugs”? Let’s spread facts, not fear; science, not stigma

Today the MailTelegraph and others have been featuring the vile and dehumanising "More than Meth" campaign, which invites us to gasp and be disgusted by the faces of Americans arrested for drug related offenses. The campaign shows mugshots of individuals chronologically as their appearance changes.

Unsurprisingly, the ghoulish coverage of this stigmatising campaign omits small-print disclaimer used by its creators that "The deterioration seen in consecutive photos is not necessarily the result of drugs or addiction..." and that "All persons are considered innocent of the crimes they were arrested for until proven guilty".

The uncritical comments below the coverage ...

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Michael Le Vell – double standards over the ‘use’ and ‘abuse’ of drugs

ISCD volunteer Richard Clifton takes a look at drugs in the news.

In recent years, it seems that Coronation Street is never very far away from a drug scandal, and now Michael Le Vell has become the latest in a long line of actors to be suspended from the soap after admitting to snorting cocaine. Craig Charles, Simon Gregson and Jimmi Harkishin have all been written out of the show in the past after being caught with drugs (all the actors have subsequently returned).

Newspaper headlines talked of Le Vell’s cocaine ‘abuse’ and his suspension was a direct result ...

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Death by cannabis?

(UPDATE 04/02/2014 - The Metro brought balance to their coverage by publishing letters today from Prof. David Nutt (see picture below) and other readers on the subject of the risks of cannabis. The ISCD will continue to make such media interventions where a scientific perspective is needed, but we rely on your continued support to do so. Thanks for your donations; the more we receive the more resources we will be able to dedicate to this aspect of our work.)


Today, the front page headline on the Metro newspaper read “The tragic proof that cannabis can kill”. Perhaps this ...

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Scheduling clash: revisiting ketamine (and legislation) harms

 

It was announced today that ketamine will be reclassified to Class B, up from C. But that's not the whole story.

Drug classification, which determines the penalties for illicit recreational use, makes the headlines. Drug scheduling, which determines the regulations for licenced use by doctors, vets and researchers is the hidden issue here. The proposal is to tighten the regulations on legitimate use of ketamine to the very toughest level, the level used for diamorphine, more commonly known as heroin.
 
Heroin is a valuable painkiller for dying patients, but needs the tightest controls on secure storage and documenting its ...

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Help me in my ambition to be uncontroversial

I’m very grateful for having been awarded the John Maddox prize. The award has caused me to reflect on the role of science in the public discourse, and evidence in politics, to ask what Standing up for Science means.

When I am invited to talk on the radio or in a debate, sometimes it seems as if I am there to represent one pole of a dichotomised debate. This isn’t always a comfortable position for a scientist to be.  There are a few topics where I am happy to be contentious, but more typically I find that there ...

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Standing up for Science

Why David won the John Maddox Standing up for Science Award

Our cultural imagination features some odd and rather unflattering stereotypes of scientists; the socially awkward oddballs out of touch with reality, or the maniacs in blood-stained lab coats you may have encountered this Halloween. Thankfully for the ISCD, with its mission of promoting an evidence-based public discussion around drugs, Professor Nutt defies these stereotypes rather more than his name would suggest. David is in his element in his laboratory and in his clinical work, but equally stellar when speaking to young festival-goers at the Secret Garden Party festival and ...

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If 5% of a drug's content isn't right, users may distrust it. Perhaps the same applies to drug programmes?

Cherry Healey: Old Before My Time, BBC3

Production by Silver River TV (@silverrivertv)
Monday 28th October 2013


The BBC deserves its reputation for bringing us some of the world’s best science documentaries. There was much to commend in this programme, indeed more to commend than to criticise. This made it especially frustrating that misinformation slipped through the editorial net. The programme cannot be accused of taking a hysterical line towards drug use; whilst it exaggerated the dangers of cannabis to the lungs, it could be argued that it underplayed the risks of GBL. The outcome was that all the ...

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“Think cannabis is harmless?” No. Does anyone? But what about propagating drug hysteria? Is that harmless?

A week ago, the Daily Mail published a story entitled “Think cannabis is harmless? It drove this grammar school boy insane – then killed him”. This is not the first time that the Mail and other newspapers have used personal tragedies to generate panic about cannabis, particularly related to psychosis, and particularly aimed at concerned parents. In the past, the ISCD and other voices who challenge drug misinformation have hesitated from getting involved, as it seems rather distasteful to engage in a debate about evidence over the body of a young man. However, this has allowed the Mail and others to ...

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